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Time Zones in France

1:26:30 pm

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Country: France

Long Name: French Republic

Abbreviations: FR, FRA

Capital: Paris

Time Zones: 1 (Main Country)

Total Time Zones: 13 (with dependencies)

Dial Code: +33

Time Zone Currently Being Used in France

OffsetTime Zone Abbreviation & NameExample CityCurrent Time
UTC +2CESTCentral European Summer TimeParisWed, 1:26:30 pm

Country With the Most Time Zones

With its 12 standard times, France currently holds the world record for the country with the most time zones, beating even the United States and Russia, which have 11 time zones each.

The main part of the country, France métropolitaine, which lies in central Europe and includes the capital Paris, spans only 1 time zone. The remaining 11 time zones are added by France's dependencies (France d’Outre-Mer). Please see below for a complete list.

When Saint Pierre and Miquelon observes Daylight Saving Time, it even adds a 13th local time to the count.


Time Zone Not Currently Being Observed in France

OffsetTime Zone Abbreviation & NameCommences
UTC +1CETCentral European TimeOct 27, 2019

The above time zone is used during other parts of the year. It will become active again after the next clock change as Daylight Saving Time begins or ends.

Only the European part of France and the collectivity of Saint Pierre and Miquelon use Daylight Saving Time (DST).

In the country's main part, Central European Time (CET) is used as standard time, while Central European Summer Time (CEST) is observed when DST is in force.


Time Zones Being Used in Dependencies of France

OffsetTime Zone Abbreviation & NameDependencyTypeCurrent Time
UTC -10TAHTTahiti TimeFrench PolynesiaOverseas collectivityWed, 1:26:30 am
UTC -9:30MARTMarquesas TimeFrench PolynesiaOverseas collectivityWed, 1:56:30 am
UTC -9GAMTGambier TimeFrench PolynesiaOverseas collectivityWed, 2:26:30 am
UTC -8EASTEaster Island Standard TimeClipperton IslandOverseas territoryWed, 3:26:30 am
UTC -4ASTAtlantic Standard TimeGuadeloupeOverseas departmentWed, 7:26:30 am
ASTAtlantic Standard TimeMartiniqueOverseas departmentWed, 7:26:30 am
ASTAtlantic Standard TimeSaint BarthélemyOverseas collectivityWed, 7:26:30 am
ASTAtlantic Standard TimeSaint MartinOverseas collectivityWed, 7:26:30 am
UTC -3GFTFrench Guiana TimeFrench GuianaOverseas departmentWed, 8:26:30 am
UTC -2PMDTPierre & Miquelon Daylight TimeSaint Pierre and MiquelonOverseas collectivityWed, 9:26:30 am
UTC +3EATEastern Africa TimeMayotteOverseas departmentWed, 2:26:30 pm
UTC +4RETReunion TimeRéunion (French)Overseas departmentWed, 3:26:30 pm
UTC +5TFTFrench Southern and Antarctic TimeFrench Southern TerritoriesOverseas territoryWed, 4:26:30 pm
UTC +11NCTNew Caledonia TimeNew CaledoniaOverseas collectivityWed, 10:26:30 pm
UTC +12WFTWallis and Futuna TimeWallis and FutunaOverseas collectivityWed, 11:26:30 pm

Of France's dependencies, only Saint Pierre and Miquelon uses Daylight Saving Time.

Time Zone History of France

In 1884, the international community adopted Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) as the world's time standard. Back then, GMT was based on solar time at the prime meridian that runs through Greenwich, United Kingdom.

However, France continued to use its own standard for several decades. It was based on solar time in Paris, so local time in France was Paris Mean Time (PMT), which was 9 minutes and 11 seconds ahead of GMT. In 1911, France turned its civil time back by precisely that amount to synchronize its clocks with GMT. However, rather than officially adopting GMT as its standard time, the country now proclaimed PMT-0:09:21 as the name of its standard time zone.

In 1978, after having advanced its standard time by 1 hour to Central European Time in 1940, France adopted today's UTC standard.

Should France Use GMT?

Today, most of the European part of France uses a time zone that does not adequately reflect the solar time on its longitude. CET is based on solar time at 15° eastern longitude, which runs along the border between Germany and Poland. CEST, France's Daylight Saving Time, refers to an even less suitable solar time, at 30° longitude, which runs close to Kyiv, Ukraine.

In terms of geography, GMT or WET, which share the same local time, should be the time zone of choice for France.

France
1:2630pm
Wednesday, July 17, 2019